Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Death by Didgeridoo / Barbara Venkataraman

Reviewed by: Pete Barber

Genre: Mystery

Approximate word count: 15-20,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection.

She is the author of The Fight for Magicallus, a children's fantasy; a humorous short story entitled If You'd Just Listened to Me in the First Place; and two books of humorous essays: I'm Not Talking about You, Of Course and A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities, which are part of the Quirky Essays for Quirky People series. Both books of humorous essays won the prestigious "Indie Book of the Day" award.


When Jamie Quinn’s mom dies of cancer, the family-law attorney quits work and tries to make sense of her life. But when her autistic nephew, Adam, becomes the prime suspect in a murder, she’s forced to engage the world again in order to prove his innocence.


I don’t often read mysteries, but variety is the spice of life, and this book’s Amazon sample was appealing. I particularly enjoyed the author’s light and engaging writing style.

This is a short “taster” novelette, and as such it’s main job is to introduce Jamie Quinn--that part of the mission was well accomplished. Written in first person, Jamie occasionally breaks the fourth wall (speaks directly to the reader), and the technique worked—it got me rooting for her from the very beginning of the story.

The story itself rolled along nicely. I also enjoyed the politically-incorrect private detective, Duke. I suspect he’ll be coming along for the series, too.

The only problem I had was one of confusion. There were a lot of character names, and they blurred together somewhat for me, so that, or maybe because of that, I didn’t engage with any of the suspects. At one point even the author got a name confused, so I wasn’t alone. Also, Adam seemed such an unlikely murderer, that I questioned the DA’s logic; no matter how politically driven he was, I doubt he’d try to accuse a boy suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome of a murder with a blunt instrument.

All in all, though, a fast, light, fun read.

Format/Typo Issues:

I read on Kindle and it was double spaced, which kinda wore my page-turning finger thin.

Rating: **** Four stars


nrlymrtl said...

I also enjoyed this book. I listened to the audio version, so I didn't have any trouble keeping the characters straight. But I can see how it might be a large cast for such a small book.

Pete Barber said...

Thanks for dropping by, nrlymyrtl. I like the goats--we have two Nigerian Dwarfs.